Bladed Fury (PlayStation 4) Review

By Sandy Kirchner-Wilson 14.04.2021

Review for Bladed Fury on PlayStation 4

Developed by NExT Studios, Bladed Fury is a 2D action game set in a mythological Chinese world with lots of surreal elements and cool artwork. The game appears to be inspired by the likes of Muramasa: The Demon Blade and, similar to Eastern Exorcist, tries to recapture the artsy 2D action title from the high of the PS2 era. Is this game a triumph or just a shadow of its inspirations? It's time to dive in.

Seemingly inspired by Vanillaware's Muramasa , Bladed Fury is a beautiful 2D action game. The story is quite simple, at least to begin with, with the main character Princess Ji being framed for killing the emperor. She kills a demon haunting him but is blamed for his death shortly after the fight. Her older sister Shu tells her to run away, and so she makes her way to the forest and talks to some of the spirits there who advise her against seeking revenge and try to guide her to a larger goal. This description may be a bit oversimplified but the story presents a good staging for the journey that Ji goes through.

The art style and visual design is very evocative of traditional Chinese art, featuring lots of brush strokes, outlines and muted colours. Characters and monsters are animated very smoothly, breathing life into the world and highlighting some beautiful surrealism. From the castle at the beginning to the spirit realms everything has its own unique colour scheme and atmosphere. These elements are supported with a nicely themed user interface that makes use of the traditional aesthetic. The heads-up display elements like health and power are minimalistic, helping to reduce the noise on screen so players can focus on the action.

Screenshot for Bladed Fury on PlayStation 4

Running through the areas is a lot of fun with a couple of branching paths, the slight puzzle element of the spirit world, and generally platforming around looking for hidden corners. Everything is snappy, loading is quick and there is little downtime with the slower paced, battle free 'talking areas' being quite well spaced out to reduce fatigue. The crux of the gameplay is the fighting however, and it is actually just niche enough to stay interesting for the short duration of the game. The normal move set is there, such as the fast combo, a quick dodge, heavy attacks and some magical power moves. Stringing them together to destroy waves of enemies is satisfying with nice crunchy animations and sound effects. The latency is also nice and low, making the game feel responsive to inputs. It's all very competent and enjoyable.

The fighting is amplified when the boss fights begin. Working out the patterns and carefully dodging, move cancelling, shielding and then smashing through them is very enjoyable. It is these larger fights that really set the game alight as they provide much needed enemy variety as well as complex attack patterns to keep Ji on her toes. In an action game the combat makes or breaks the experience, and this game has some satisfying bouts making the experience well worth it.

During the short 4 hours or so runtime of the game there are plenty of standout moments leading to a satisfying ending, making the runtime seem appropriate for what the game wanted to achieve. These are all highlighted with a soundtrack and audio that helps ground the interactions in the game. Punchy hit sounds, clear well-balanced voice acting and also music that encapsulates the setting, enhance exploration and combat as well as the game's sense of place.

Screenshot for Bladed Fury on PlayStation 4

Cubed3 Rating

8/10
Rated 8 out of 10

Great - Silver Award

Rated 8 out of 10

Bladed Fury is a considered and exciting 2D action game. It lives and dies by its fast-paced, enjoyable combat while also packing in a short but interesting mythology themed story. While not breaking new ground, it does create a great frame for the action. Running with its Vanillaware inspiration as a badge, this game comes out very strong at the end and is a must for 2D action fans.

Developer

NEXT Studios

Publisher

Numskull Games

Genre

Action

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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